The Islamist militant group al-Furqan released a video on Wednesday which apparently shows its own attack on a cargo ship in the Suez Canal. The video and accompanying letter of responsibility refers to last weekend's attack on the Cosco Asia cargo ship. That attack was quickly downplayed by Egyptian officials.
The Suez Canal Authority deemed the entire attack unsuccessful, according to al-Ahram. The ship wasn't damaged, the attack didn't halt traffic on the waterway, and the country's already increased security along the canal in response. On Sunday, the country said it had arrested three militants responsible for the attacks. But in the secondary war waged by the militants against the canal — a war on its safety reputation — Wednesday's video release demonstrates that authorities may not be able to sweep away the memory of the attack as quickly as they'd like.
As the U.S. Naval Institute notes, Egypt had good reason to walk back early claims that the Saturday incident at the canal was a terrorist attack. Increased vulnerability on the canal would be very bad for business. Egypt gets $5 billion a year in fees from the canal's use, and that revenue is absolutely critical to the country's struggling economy. In a last-ditch effort to squeeze more cash from the high-traffic trade route, the Mohammed Morsi governemnt increased fees on the canal by 5% last spring.
The group behind the attack supports the Muslim Brotherhood, though apparently not hugely supportive of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who was democratically elected into office. Here's Al-Ahram's translation of their statement:
The statement condemned what it termed the "coup against Islam and its people," yet tacitly slammed Morsi's Brotherhood when referring to those who gave "legitimacy to [ballot] boxes, not Allah and his prophet."
"We promise Muslims that we are preparing for knock out strikes against the regime, and its institutions," the statement titled 'Democracy is Infidelity' added. "The coming is more severe and bitter."
It's not clear whether last weekend's attack will have an effect on, say, the insurance cost of passage through the canal. The militant group, however, vowed to continue attacking the revenue stream for Egypt's government.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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